Presented on Wednesday, September 20, 2006 in the Barn at Quarry Farm. For six months beginning in September 1870, a spate of family tragedies and crises left Mark Twain struggling to repeat the success of his first book, Innocents Abroad (1868). To get back on track, Clemens invited his lifelong friend, Joe Goodman, to spend the summer with him at Quarry Farm. With Goodman's encouragement, Mark Twain finished his second book, Roughing It (1872) and regained his self-confidence. Perhaps to recall their Comstock adventures, he and Goodman mined the abandoned quarry at the Farm but not for precious minerals but for more an intellectual treasure - ancient fossils.
Join Dr. Pratt as he explores Mark Twain's fascination with paleontology in several of his writings - in particular, his satirical essay, "Was the World Made for Man?" (1903). Dr. Pratt will also identify parts of the essay that seem to echo Clemens' fossil collecting experiences 32 years earlier at Quarry Farm.
Michael Pratt is an Associate Professor of Environmental Studies at Elmira College.